Rhayader Show

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After holding for many years its popular vintage-car exhibition, the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show has turned its back on this display, rather surprisingly in view of the present interest in old cars and motorcycles. Fortunately, the Rhayader MC held its own exhibition of historic cars and motorcycles in the ample space provided by the Smithfield Market Place in this pleasant Welsh town, just prior to the opening of the Royal Welsh Show. It brought in 51 entries including 16 ‘bikes and 22 cars, one of these being a Bond Bug (remember them?).

The most exciting car was a T35 GP Bugatti lent to Seymour Price by Sir John Venables-Llewelyn, But l was pleased to see that a 1911 sleeve-valve BSA tourer which a local garage has been restoring over many years, after its use in Wales as a taxi, was able to take part in the parade round the town, albeit arriving and departing on a trailer.

The Welsh A7 contingent was well represented, by two fast Ulsters, one built for trials, a Wydoor saloon in regular use, a rare 1934 tourer, a bright yellow tourer and WB’s “grotty Gould” Ulster. They were overshadowed in stature by a an Austin Hertford saloon.

Other vintage cars included a Morris 8 tourer, Alvis Firefly and T-Ford. These days much later cars join in such carnival parades, so it was not surprising to find Rolls-Royces contrasting with a vast Cadillac Fleetwood wearing wedding ribbons and immaculate Rovers, down to a 2000, present, together with Simon Price’s rally Ford Cortina CT, Porsche RS911, Wolseley 4/44, Hillman Hunter and a mysterious JBA built with Ford Cortina parts.

Oldest motorcycle was a JAP-engined New Hudson IIIB from Brecon, ridden by Des James, but seven of the machines were unregistered, reminding me of when I judged the motorcycle class at a Clun show many years ago. I thought three of the entrants equally good, and suggested that, as I had a stop-watch, the prize should go to the one to start-up first. This was greeted by blank looks. “There’s no petrol in ’em,” I was told. “Well, I have some in a can.” No go — it transpired that none of the owners had done more than restore the machines to concours condition, never having run them. . . I gave the prize to a rider of something less pristine, who had ridden to the event. W B